Minister to children at their level with this essential resource for children's pastors, CE directors and Sunday school teachers. It's crammed with helpful age-level insights, the same kind found in Children's Ministry Magazine--the world's leading resource for children's ministry! Understand how children learn and what they understand at different ages about 15 different scriptural topics from "God the Father" to "The Last Days."
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Connect Powerfully With Your Kids! Help children draw near to God through engaging teaching that hits the mark in their hearts!
Minister to children at their level with this essential resource for children's pastors, CE directors and Sunday school teachers. It's crammed with helpful age-level insights, the same kind found in Children's Ministry Magazine--the world's leading resource for children's ministry! You'll understand -- *How faith develops in children, and how to reach them at their level, *What children want to know about God at various ages, and *How to most effectively teach children of all ages.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
What a wonderful, yet challenging task to teach children about the Creator of the universe. How can you know what children can learn about God and how best to teach them? This book will give you insights into knowing how to "teach on target" with children. Since the book is in your hands, you are probably (a) a chalk-dust veteran who can cut out flannel-graph figures in a moving car, (b) a nervous novice pressured into a classroom by a desperate recruiter of children's workers, or (c) a ministry leader anticipating that both novices and veterans develop their teaching gifts joyfully. We've designed this book in a way that we hope will make your roles easier, more productive, and more fun.
As you seek to understand what children can learn about God, the best place to start is with God himself. The guidelines laid out for the Israelites provide a strong foundation for us today as we seek to learn how to instill a steadfast faith in the children entrusted to us.
The Lord knew that those who were to conquer Canaan would have to obey his laws and trust his promises. Faith like that would have to be instilled at an early age. God provided the Israelite parents with some guidelines for raising their children "in the way he (she) should go" (Proverbs 22:6).
Because God understands his own design for the development of a young child, he knows that a child learns best by doing. Parents were instructed to integrate the teaching of God's laws with everyday experiences. On the road, at home, going to bed, getting up--all of these were teachable moments (Deuteronomy 6:4–7). A lesson linked to a daily occurrence is a lesson that will be reviewed and learned by putting it into practice. Practice, practice, practice is true of moral development as well as the development of practical skills such as musical ability.
God designed the child's physical senses as tools for learning. God had the Israelites take advantage of this by having them create visual reminders of great events. A stack of rocks could mark the place God had fulfilled a promise, granted a victory, or parted a sea. When a child asked about the rocks, it provided a marvelous learning opportunity.
God designs each child with needs that are not only spiritual but also emotional, social, physical, and intellectual. God models the pattern of a teacher-learner relationship. A child learns best from someone who offers acceptance and affirmation. This is seen in the way Paul related with acceptance and affirmation when he was imparting spiritual truth. He wrote to the Thessalonians that he and his missionary companions "were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well" (1 Thessalonians 2:8). To the Corinthians the apostle wrote, "If I...can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2). Children need you to share your lives with them and to do all things with love.
Another place to look for insight into what children can learn about God is the history of Christian education. By seeing what has happened in the past, we can better understand what we need to do today.
First-century Christian parents had limited schooling options for their children. Imperial institutions taught emperor worship, and private tutors were expensive. Many children were home schooled. Soon persecutions sent Christian scholars scrambling for the catacombs. Later, more tolerant rulers allowed the establishment of Christian schools of higher learning.
When the Roman Empire crumbled, the only youngsters with a chance for an education were the offspring of the rich and those destined for monastic life. The church had a firm grip on what little educational opportunity still existed in Europe at this time.
Then came the Renaissance. The good news: scientific advances! The flowering of the arts! Education for everybody! The bad news: the goal of education had previously been the glorification of God, but now that goal was the glorification of man himself. In an effort to monopolize education and hold onto its power, the church denounced preaching and printing God's Word in languages of the common people. However, it was already too late to stop the religious movement called the Reformation. Literacy and Bible translation spread faster than the fires the church lit to burn the reformers out, and Bible-based education was encouraged.
During this time educational methods improved. Researchers began to uncover God's design for the mind of the learner. But once again the focus of education became not the Designer, but the design. Sunday school and other Christian educational institutions developed as a response to this focus and to take up the slack in spiritual instruction.
This formed the basis for the educational system we deal with today. Christian educational ministry ranges from day-care centers to seminaries. Parachurch organizations such as camps, clubs, and publishers complement the work of the local church.
No matter where you minister to children, you can use the knowledge gained through two thousand years of Christian education to better understand how to teach God's truths effectively.
Teaching on Target is organized to allow you to pick and choose the information that is most relevant for your situation. Use the charts in the "Who Are the Learners?" section to better understand the general learning needs of particular age groups. The rest of the book is organized according to biblical concepts and what each of the different age groups can learn about that concept. We have also listed materials that may be useful to teach particular concepts.
Each age has its delights and challenges. Rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance and the best insights. Take time to enjoy your learners, no matter what age they are. They won't linger long at that age.
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